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Raising the level of the fisheries debate

The Nordic countries may have unique experience of matters relating to the marine environment and marine management but those involved find it hard to make their voices heard in the public debate, according to a number of experts. A new Nordic think tank seeks to redress this imbalance.


The new Nordic forum for debate about marine resources, Nordic Marine Think Tank, was established at an inaugural meeting in Copenhagen on 30 January 2012.

Johannes Jansson/

On 30 January 2012 ,the Nordic Council of Ministers hosted a meeting in Copenhagen and brought together experts from all over the Region to set up the Nordic Marine Think Tank (NMTT).

The aim is to promote informed debate on fisheries policy in the Region and beyond. According to the founders, too much spin and biased information currently characterises the debate about how marine resources are exploited.

The sea must remain a pillar of a healthy economy.

The NMTT will address issues such as mackerel in the North Atlantic, the regulation of quotas in international waters, offshore wind farms and the conservation of marine areas. It will also provide documented information about the impact of the fishing industry and other marine activities on the condition of the seas.

"The seas and their ecosystems need to remain healthy. And the commercial exploitation of living marine resources needs to be sustainable. The sea must remain a pillar of a healthy economy. But we also have to strike a balance between the profits to be made and the effects on the ecosystem. The think tank will ensure that both sides are properly represented in public debate and when political decisions are made," said one of the founders, Victor Hjort, a former director of Eurofish.

Call for factual discussion

The people behind the Nordic Marine Think Tank would particularly like to ensure that the discussion about the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems is conducted on an objective and sound scientific basis. "In the global and regional debate about the climate there is a need to distinguish between facts and what amounts – in the worst cases –to spin," say the founders.

The think tank is independent of official national and international bodies, as well as the financial interests of the fisheries sector, but the founders have issued a call for collaboration with NGOs who share their approach.

Thirty people attended the inaugural meeting in Copenhagen on 30 January 2012, at which NMTT was formally established, statutes and guidelines for its work adopted and elections held for the board.


Contact Victor Hjort, tel. +45 26246813